The Illinois General Assembly is set to cut $2.7 billion dollars from Illinois’ Medicaid budget in a process that brings to mind George Orwell’s rough vision of the future. This decision will hurt Illinois seniors, Illinois families, and, at the same time, cost the state far more than it can hope to save.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a combined effort of state and federal governments. The federal government matches each state’s contributions to the programs, so when Illinois cuts their contributions, the federal government will cut the amount of money given to Illinois by the same amount.
The typical way that states make these cuts is to simply cut the eligibility rate. In this case, it would mean that families of four that make more than $30,000 but less than $40,000 will no longer be eligible for Medicaid. Without Medicaid, that $30,000 family will need to purchase their own health insurance. The average health insurance costs for a family of four is about $15,000 annually. That leaves $15,000 for food, shelter, clothing, school supplies, and transportation.
In addition, the Illinois Cares Prescription program is on the chopping block. The program provides prescription drug coverage to low-income seniors and disabled Illinois citizens.
Both of these losses will have tremendous detrimental effects on the state. According to a report from the Campaign for Better Health Care and Families USA, the cuts will cost over 26,000 jobs and $3 billion in lost business income.
Cutting the funding for these programs won’t make the people who need them disappear. Instead, they will use emergency rooms and nursing homes, and the state of Illinois will have no choice but to pay the tab.
Illinois seniors may pay the highest price. The influx of new residents into nursing homes will keep those facilities packed. Crowded facilities create situations rife for nursing home neglect and abuse.
If you have a family member or other loved one in a nursing home, these next months will be critical times. Visit your loved one as much as possible, and keep a journal of their health and wellbeing. Document every injury and insist that each injury lead to an updated care plan.
If you feel that abuse or neglect is taking place, talk to an attorney with experience handling nursing home abuse and neglect. At my law offices, we offer a free consultation to anyone who feels they might have a loved one suffering from nursing home abuse or neglect in an Illinois nursing home.